The Government’s immigration changes to encourage more skills and entrepreneurs to the regions is a good step forward and will help address regional skill shortages. However, a wider regional growth strategy is needed to bring new life and sustainable growth and opportunities to the regions, say the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA).
NZMEA Chief Executive Dieter Adam says, “The Government’s immigration changes will help encourage a better spread of immigration, skills and talent around the country, while helping address some of the skill shortages in the regions. A better flow of skilled migrants to the regions will help improve the capability of our manufacturing and exporting businesses in the regions, this, along with the announced regional research institutes, are a positive step forward.”
“However, a wider regional growth strategy that has a focus on encouraging growth and investment in manufacturing businesses is needed to create sustainable growth, jobs and opportunities that the regions need into the future.
“Manufacturing businesses need others around them, a manufacturing eco-system of critical mass to create local supply chains and fuel demand and capability. The risk of slipping below critical mass is even more pronounced in the regions. Dunedin is a good example of this, where the loss of Hillside Engineering and other manufacturers had unfortunate effects on remaining manufacturers who made up parts of related supply chains.
“With the regional initiatives already in place, along with a more focused strategy targeting regional manufacturers, the sector can do much more to supply good sustainable jobs and growth for the regions. The fall in dairy prices has outlined the need for more diverse business development in the regions.
“Part of this strategy must also be providing the training, education and support required for Kiwis in the regions to gain the skills needed to grow capability and competitiveness in manufacturing and exporting businesses, and improve the outcomes, incomes and productivity of our people.” said Dieter.